OCC Bulletin 2022-13| April 14, 2022

Suspicious Activity Reports: OCC Authority for Exemptions to Suspicious Activity Report Requirements: Final Rule

To

Chief Executive Officers of National Banks, Federal Savings Associations, and Federal Branches; Department and Division Heads; All Examining Personnel; and Other Interested Parties

Summary

On March 16, 2022, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued a final rule amending the OCC's suspicious activity report (SAR) regulations. This rule allows the OCC to issue exemptions from the requirements of those regulations based on a request from a bank1 subject to those regulations that meets the criteria specified in the final rule. The final rule adopts, with changes in response to comments, the proposed rule published in the Federal Register on January 22, 2021.

The final rule takes effect on May 1, 2022.

Note for Community Banks

The final rule applies to community banks.

Highlights

The final rule

  • harmonizes the OCC's legal authority to issue exemptions from its SAR regulations with preexisting exemptive authority of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (FinCEN).
  • establishes processes for the OCC to facilitate changes related to SAR regulations required by the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020.
  • establishes processes for the OCC to grant relief to banks that develop innovative solutions intended to meet Bank Secrecy Act requirements more efficiently and effectively.
  • does not, by itself, result in any exemptions from SAR requirements. The final rule only clarifies the OCC's legal authority to issue such exemptions in the future.

When issuing any exemptions, the OCC expects to coordinate with FinCEN and the other federal banking agencies. For exemption requests from the OCC's SAR regulations that would also require an exemption from FinCEN's SAR regulation, a bank would need to seek an exemption from both the OCC and FinCEN.

Further Information

Please contact Jina Cheon, Counsel; Henry Barkhausen, Counsel; or Scott Burnett, Counsel; Chief Counsel's Office, at (202) 649-5490.

 

Benjamin W. McDonough
Senior Deputy Comptroller and Chief Counsel

Related Link

1 "Banks" refers to national banks, federal savings associations, covered savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banking organizations.